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Punjab Govt gears up to collect cancer fund

Wednesday, 24 April 2013 | Monika Malik | Chandigarh | in Chandigarh


Less than a month after the Punjab Government announced diversion of crores of rupees for combating drug addiction and cancer problems in the State, the Punjab Government is now gearing up to collect funds from people by imposing cess on various sectors.

The decision regarding on which sectors the cess would be imposed is expected to be taken up during a high-level meeting on Wednesday that is to be chaired by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

The collected money would form a part of the corpus fund — namely Punjab State Cancer and Drug Addiction Treatment Fund - for the creation of infrastructure for the treatment of cancer and drug addiction in the State.

"The State Government would decide in its meeting tomorrow on which sectors the cess would be imposed to collect money for the corpus fund established as per the Punjab State Cancer and Drug Addiction Treatment Act," said Punjab Health and Family Welfare Minister Madan Mohan Mittal, who will also be part of the meeting.

Mittal added that the funds will then be used for setting up the cancer treatment facilities, infrastructure, including equipments, machines, and provision for medicines in selected hospitals, among other things.

The minister further revealed that a surcharge or cess would be levied on some items and the money collected would be deposited in this dedicated fund just like the recent hike in VAT on cigarettes and other tobacco products, where the collected money is being included in this fund.

Mittal, however, did not reveal which sectors the cess would be levied on.

As per the Act, the Government is to levy cess on some items, besides taxes, receipts and a share from the sale of Government and semi-Government properties, that would form the part of the corpus fund.

The State Government had proposed to mobilise Rs 300 crore annually by way of levy on sale or allotment of properties, construction works undertaken by the Government and its agencies.

Between 0.25 to one per cent of the total cost of the project would be levied on the upcoming mega projects in the state, to contribute into the special funds, under the provisions of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Only recently, the empowered committee of mega projects had made it mandatory for all the entrepreneurs and industrialists to contribute 0.25 per cent and one percent of the total investment in case of manufacturing units and multiplexes and housing projects with a maximum cap of Rs 25 lakh and Rs one crore respectively for this purpose.

Waging a war against the menace of cancer and drug addiction, the State Government had announced to set up Punjab State Cancer and Drug Addiction Treatment Fund in its budget, presented in March this year.

For the purpose, the Punjab State Cancer and Drug Addiction Treatment Infrastructure Board would also be established, with the Chief Minister as its chairperson. Besides, Health Minister, Finance Minister, Medical Education and Research Minister, Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary to Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary, Medical Education and Research, and Principal Secretary, Finance as its members.

The principal secretary, health and family welfare, would be the member secretary of the Board.

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